Monday, August 29, 2005

And so it goes...

Finally spoke with B. for the first time since his departure two months ago; it was so good to hear his voice and know that he's well again. As he's been kept apprised about the recent events, he had nothing but great perspective and kind words--he sees things the same way I do about working, living and the interplay between the two and how life comes first. Knowing that he's in good shape and that things are looking up for him fills me with even greater hope and more fire to take care of this inconvenience in fairly short order.

Went back to the agency I signed on with last week to start shoring up my Excel skills. Hopefully, I have an interview on Wednesday morning. Sending resumes out like a machine. What more can I say beyond that?

Tomorrow will be the overdue day at home to just do "stuff"--laundry, write checks and hopefully, get my ass to the gym. THAT will be the first thing I do the minute I get a new job--renew my contract. And maybe, once the housework, etc. is done, MAYBE I'll get to do some work in Synchronic East.

The Punch Line is nowhere near on hold or anything like that; we're just trying to adjust/balance schedules, now that there has been a professional turn of tides for Chris and myself. Hopefully, he is or will be working soon, so it would bode even better for the band.

Okay--headache coming on. Time to get away from the computer.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The future is unwritten

Went out last night with Liz; she finally met Jason and Sean as we congregated at Maxwell's, a place that holds nothing but positive vibes and great memories for me. It was a night to begin looking at what's ahead for myself and Sean and knowing that even though we won't be seeing one another on a daily basis, we have some very strong bonds of friendship that will keep us propped up through this little employment sidestep and beyond. Like I said, this job loss' only regret is not seeing some of the people. Nonetheless, it was a night of laughs and great conversation. So on we go, onward and upward...

An interesting and very flattering anecdote Jason laid on me--he was doing his workout and listening to his iPod when a song came on that really had him going and he said "I had to look to see what it was 'cause it wasn't hitting me "who is this?" -- it was "Train Of Thought". Then it happened again today--same thing, except it was "Tearing Me Apart". The thing is, I wanted to hear them, not 'cos they're your songs; they're just fucking good songs". Blows me away, you know? My friends are trusted for their honesty; I prefer the unabridged versions, but that is one of the highest compliments you can pay me. And I'll now take it--graciously. Once again, it validates why I'm doing this all over again.

Heading up to Essex agency tomorrow for an Excel tutorial, to improve my minimal skills. It cannot/does not hurt. If it helps my chances of getting a good position, then great. Whatever it takes.

Back to the gym this week, for the final month. As soon as I find another job, renewal of our membership will be the first thing I do. It's something I love and need.

At this moment, I'm listening to last week's four mixes and I'm STILL agog at how fucking great it sounds. Almost safe to say that this is my favorite album of the year.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Settled dust

It's really not bad at all. I was still a bit thrown off by events when I look over my last posting. On Wednesday, I went up to the office to collect my items and take care of the last bit of business. Now I'm free and having actually gotten a restful night's sleep last night, I'm back physically at 100%. Had three interviews yesterday--two were via an "open house" and the other was signing on with an agency who does serious placement of a temp-to-perm nature. I had e-mailed my resume to a friend of mine who immediately forwarded it on to people he knows, so I really believe this will be a very short time between jobs. I have faith in myself and I have a LOT of support from my family and friends.

During this time off, I'm hoping (in between interviews or temp jobs) to be able to really start focusing on demos. Since the album is two songs shy of completion in mixing, I'm now looking towards the new material, etc. So again, in this frame of mind, looking forward, I only see the positives of the (not-too-distant) future.

No, I'm not some kind of new-age, hippy-dippy lunatic. I've been through this before and there are certain coping skills you need to have and hone. When we all left Atlantic Records in '01, I didn't bat an eyelash and I had a job within 2 months. Keep in mind, that was at the worst possible time in the economy. It's all about perserverance. Just like in '03--moving from job to job to despair but never stopping the hustle; constantly looking, calling, interviewing--even though the job at The Gap (both phases) was a difficult period, it helped get me to the next, higher level. So now that the Direct Revenue phase ends, it's on to even better.

It always does get better. Seriously.

Maybe it's time to go home. Where I belong--back to music.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Caught unawares--bad day

I am writing this as the shock is finally wearing off from last night; I barely slept at all. This is supposed to be my vacation week. At 6:15 p.m. last night, I was called by the lawyer for Direct Revenue, the company I was working for, and was informed that I, along with 35% of the staff, was let go. I will receive severance and they will try to help expedite getting set up on unemployment benefits, but wow. Really no other way to put it; I didn't see this coming--just yet. I had been looking for a while; with a greater sense of urgency (not panic) when B. left, but I wanted to leave under my own grace and steam, not an arbitrary dismissal.

I wanted to cry; be angry; freaked out, etc. but there was nothing that really could trigger me. Yes, I was caught unaware and we have bills, but this is not how it was in the aftermath of the Eagle Rock debacle. I'm older, wiser, have better perspective and I would like to think that because of my Sahaja Yoga discipline/beliefs that it won't affect me and this is merely a temporary setback.

Everyone in my orbit knew I wasn't happy and was looking; I'd been on a few interviews recently and was focused on finding something and moving on. A major problem I had with the job is what they do; while they aren't pornographers, pop-up ads and spyware upset a lot of people in great numbers. I wasn't comfortable with getting endless e-mails (under the guise of customer service) that equaled death threats. And I felt a sense of guilt over doing this job, once I knew what the company did since I took the approach (at times) that "nobility doesn't pay the rent". While I was never one responsible for the ads or software (I was administrative); I knew what people's reactions would be if they knew who I worked for, so I never really said.

So it comes to pass and I'll go in for the last time today to get my personal items from my desk and to sign the necessary papers while handing in my door pass and my corporate credit card. It was a nice ride, but ultimately, this had to come. I just would have preferred leaving on my own. There were many benefits to this job--the gym; meeting many good people and making close friends and learning, so there is was some pleasure to be had. No matter what, I learned many more things than when I first came in--all I've done is add to my skills. Onward and upward.

When this happened in 2003, I became an emotional mess; I let the situation rule me. This isn't the case here. Tomorrow, I will be stopping at and trying to sign on with temp agencies and to drop off a resume at an open house in a yoga center. So I have a clear grasp on what needs to be done.

Either way, it isn't going to deter me, Liz and I or The Punch Line. This is a temporary setback.

"When one life finishes, another one starts"

Monday, August 22, 2005


Ever since I began my vacation on Friday, I've been fucking busy. Not a complaint, mind you; just an observation. Went out Friday night with LeFig; did a quick stop at Whole Foods and was up early to get to Chris' by 10.

Got to work immediately and basically managed to mix a song an hour. It was one of (if not the most) disciplined sessions I've ever taken part in. The production of the album took a new turn and now sounds the way I envisioned it to be. Big, booming, explosive drums; propulsive, yet melodic bass runs; crisp guitars and rich vocals--all that's left to work on are two songs and we're ready to master. I honestly haven't been able to stop listening to the CD since I got it home and that's a great feeling. Working with Chris was a pleasure and I'm happy with the results and looking forward to the next session, which may turn out to be the truly last one.

Had a day out with Liz yesterday; groceries for us and the dad, as per usual. Did the Target run and lunch at Panera; was wiped out by the time we got home. Spent this first day alone going through clothes and doing a late-summer purging. Thinking of the not-too-distant future, it's time to start getting rid of old items that no longer have a part in my life. I didn't want to become over-analytical; I went with the clinical approach and just looked at whatever seemed worn and horribly out of fashion. Said goodbye to my 12-year old Doc Martens. I'm not a Mod or a kid anymore; time to let it all go. Did laundry and worked on the acoustic set. Sent mp.3's of the new mixes to Bob, who's as happy with them as I am. His reaction gave me a recharged thrill and it makes me glad to know that on Saturday, the goal set was met.

More later--I'm getting tired on this sofa.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Vacation... all I ever wanted

...had to get away. The peace and quiet starts with meeting my blog mate, the lovely and lively LeFig for dinner, conversation and brainstorming. Meeting up at Dojo--one of my not-often-frequented-enough haunts in the East Village. A cloudy evening, but I can use the walk.

Off to Synchronic West tomorrow; gym on Sunday and visit my dad for a belated birthday. The plans for next week are (at best) hazy, which I prefer as I don't really want to do anything that equals using my energy. If I'm going to be active, it'll be at the gym. Part of my intentions are to spend time in Synchronic East actually doing demos. I plan on using Monday morning as the time to do chores and then work in the studio. If I can achieve at least 3 songs in my week off, I'll be pleased. I also am hoping to get another (if necessary) mixing session in for The Punch Line. Chris doesn't have a job; I'm off--stands to reason we could actually spend the time possibly completing the task at hand. Here's hoping. There are a few books and magazines that await me, so there's something else to submerge myself in. Ah, the joys of no time constraints--at least for the next 7 days.

Okay--the sky isn't as dark as it was earlier. I do believe that's a good sign...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Coming around

Heard from Chris earlier; we're set for working on Saturday at 10 a.m.; this is good, since I really want to get closer to where we need to be. Looking towards a productive mixing session, as there really isn't that much to labor over. It's all down to tweaking levels, etc.

Realization that I've been sorely lax about going to the gym lately has gotten me in a huff. Not at anyone; just at the fact that I've had no energy nor desire to work out in the last few weeks. I feel pretty good physically, but I know I need it; I need to get back on track and discipline myself again. I've not lost the impetus; I just haven't had the strength (pun anyone?). No matter; Sunday morning will be a return to form.

Just finished reading PsychoCybernetics--finally. It has been a tremendous aid in the way I think and approach things. It's interesting to me how many of the ideas conveyed in this philosophy (?) flow right into the tennets of Sahaja Yoga and its' disciplines (there's that word again). All in all, a combining of positives that have slowly, but surely, been seeping its' way into my conscious and unconscious mind and helping me un-learn all the non-productive habits I used to let run my life (at points).

Do I feel a sense of return to form? You better believe it.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Weekend rewind (seven views of Jerusalem)

Today is the actual anniversary of when Liz and I met and had our first date; two months later, we were married. Not bad. Any detractors/critics: fuck you. End of discussion. It's (not) funny how we put up with a lot of bullshit when we first met; well, I certainly did with the "you guys will never last" or "ah, she's only your first wife"--I would have to say that those who did not believe that Liz and I could meet, actually fall in love and stay in love/have a successful marriage are incapable of being happy themselves. So again, a big, hearty fuck you to all who were naysayers. And you could add to my slightly acid-tinged words that no one, at any time, did or gave us anything to help us get started, so everything we have, we earned ourselves. No bridal shower for her; no wedding gifts--barely an acknowledgment. So 7 years of being with this amazing woman has been heightened by the fact that all the things that we've gone through--good and bad--we've gone through alone. That's pride.

A very quiet and mind-numbingly hot weekend leads to not much to report. Except for great progress made on my acoustic set. Will change the strings this coming weekend and set about going through my set in order. Also have a lot of work to do as this coming Saturday is the next Punch Line mixing session and to many degrees, it's back to square one. Listening to the mixes that I have at intervals leaves me wondering where and how it's been going sideways. We've sat there and said to Chris exactly what to keep, etc.; why those mixes aren't what we have is frustrating and a disturbing curiosity. We also need to doctor one of the songs very carefully; listening to it closely, I hear a mistake on the percussion that's obvious and frankly, if it's heard as such in a finished version, then I'd say that's embarrassing and bad quality control to let it out in this manner (hence, I'm not saying what song it is). So work is a serious focus for this Saturday.

Why are the gods not with Pedro?

Now laundry tonight and to soak my tired feet in luxury. Must keep cool on all levels.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Boy about town

Am actually thinking about going down to The Real McCoy tonight, which is steps from my door. While I'm not a) a bar patron or b) particularly fond of standing and listening to loud music, friends of mine are playing there tonight. You should check them out--they played with us last year at The Hook. Good, tight band--great guys. Plus, their guest drummer is an old music industry acquaintance of mine and I would love to see him and say hello after all these years. He's got a well-known magazine, which I would suggest you read. It wouldn't hurt me to mention to him that we're back together and have an album coming out soon. So there is some method to the possible madness. Blame that one on Brother Rollo's cajoling.

Beyond that, hopefully, Bob and I can get together at a point this weekend. Otherwise, look for the usual.

SPF-48 sport, please. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Pure shores

Calm and quiet has been the mantra of my recent days; trying not to get bent out of shape over things, be they large or small. Been quietly re-learning/un-learning self-disciplines of habits, thought patterns, etc. and for whatever reason, which I am not questioning, it's been working. I feel focused and set on a more positive course than I've been for a while.

The band is quiet for the moment, but it doesn't mean we've hit another fallow period; if anything, we're being diligent and detailed about making sure this album sounds as "perfect" (very loosely put) as we can get it. I think of it as a re-building of the enthusiasm as when we started recording. To a degree, it seems like every time I listen to the last mix, I find more nuances to take note of and either build upon and enhance or remove for when the next session takes place. I've NEVER felt such a desire to exercise absolute quality on anything I've ever recorded before. Nine times out of ten, it's always been a case of "record it/mix it/get it the fuck out of my life". A horrible and irresponsible approach. That attitude explains why I've never cared for anything I've been part of and usually will never listen to. This one, though--this one is special. For all the right reasons.

The only other thing I could possibly want right now, to keep in this spirit, is a few days at a beach somewhere.

Any offers?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Weekend rewind (happy motoring)

Lack of sleep over two (non-consecutive) nights leaves me feeling pretty crappy. Came home early today as I just could not keep my eyes open. As it stands right now, I have a headache and am glad it's evening.

Some quick glimpses: Saturday morning, ran all chores in fairly quick order. Went to J.W.'s by 3 in steaming heat. God bless him, he helped keep me propped up and went to a pretty good diner near his place. Loving their tuna club (on wheat, if you please). He fixed that irritation of my broken muffler flange; next up, he's doing the brakes. Home by 7 after an afternoon of great conversation/good company and I was unconscious by 11. Sunday, skipped the gym by choice to have a laid-back day. I'm now addicted to Dunkin' Donuts blueberry-flavored iced coffee. Did a Target run; drove up to Hoboken for lunch at Pita Grill; walked around town and got back home to take the car to the garage for an oil change and did laundry, so was firmly on the couch for nighttime T.V.--Mets game and "Six Feet Under".

Hopefully, Bob and I will be able to get together this weekend and work on more Punch Line business; still need to sit down and work more on my acoustic solo set. Discipline! I need more!

Oh, yeah -- there's now a Punch Line page at MySpace, so check it out!

Friday, August 05, 2005


Another day to boil in this city and an off-week for the band; I am still rehearsing/refining/re-learning my acoustic set and becoming more confidant about my singing and playing again. It's a funny thing--something that's been so natural for so many years suddenly becomes non-existant. I didn't think about, look at or touch my acoustic guitar for months and then it just started coming back the minute I actually sat down to run through (roughly) the songs I felt I knew best. The cliche about bicycle riding comes to mind. I have a lot of songs I can pick and choose from, be they from the various periods of The Punch Line, the Smile era or the previously-planned-for solo album. It's a really nice and liberating feeling to have that much at my disposal. Of course, it wouldn't kill me to change the strings on the damn thing, either. Or to continue re-building the dexterity in my fingers again--after 26 years, the blisters on the tips of my fingers seem to have healed. Time to get them back.

Will hopefully be seeing J.W. tomorrow for the first time in a few months--bless his heart, he wants to help me repair the car with little cost. Even if he wasn't doing that, it'll just be great to hang with him.

Every now and then, I love these non-descript weekends. Tomorrow--coffee, groceries, fix the car and then Liz and I will hopefully still be in the mood to head up to Maxwell's for drinks and dinner. Sunday gym and laundry and wind out to psyche up for Monday.

No reportage beyond that, so have yourselves a good weekend.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Weekend rewind (but wait... there's more!)

A really good weekend, if I may be so bold. The Punch Line mixing session was not our penultimate; rather, it started with a small stroke of bad luck as a woofer blew on one of the studio monitor speakers, thus putting a cramp in our objectives. We soldiered on, sharing ideas, likes and dislikes as per certain mixes and things are turning out great. A genuine group effort. The album still has work to go, but I don't mind the care and time lavished on making this sound right. Happiest accident: Chris' rough mix of "Someone" sounds nearly done after just one attempt. Minor details in cleaning up the track, but God, when you listen to it, it's lively and punchy and powerful; everything sounds right and pretty well balanced. This is how all mix sessions should go--unlike the torture of when we recorded "The Wild Flowers" or when I was in Smile and we did that disastrous e.p. This has been a pleasure.

Yesterday was a chore day, although we skipped the gym. Car wash/mega-cleaning, buy stuff to keep the car organized, organize the house, etc. Groceries, lunch, laundry--all in all, a busy afternoon. That and starting the process of looking for a new car. And not so married to the Mini, either. Really like this, actually.

The new sleeve for my iBook arrived; so did the other stuff I ordered. I am a happy boy.